Friday, July 19, 2013

Otis Spann

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Bike people furious about new Polk Street plan

Leah Shahum and David Chiu in happier times
before Chiu's great betrayal

The bike people and the bike lobby are furious about the MTA's new plan for Polk Street, because it doesn't take away enough street parking to make a protected bike lane the whole length of the street. It only takes away a mere 100 parking spaces. 

The latest proposal is still being justified with the safety lie. In the SF Chronicle:

[Supervisor]Chiu said the plan meets the city's main goal of improving safety on the street, which has one of the highest concentrations of accidents between cars and pedestrians or bicyclists. Over five years, 53 pedestrians and 69 bike riders were injured in collisions with cars on Polk, primarily at intersections. "My hope is that when the project is implemented, people will understand that the goals of traffic safety and neighborhood and economic vitality are not mutually exclusive," he said.

Presumably Chiu gets those numbers from his bike pal Ed Reiskin at the MTA. As I've pointed out before, not a single intersection on Polk Street is on the list of the city's most dangerous intersections in its annual Collision Report (see pages 8 and 21). Polk Street is on a list for cycling accidents at Polk and Ellis (page 25) for seven (7) accidents there in three years, which isn't a lot for a busy street. And Polk/Ellis barely qualified for that list, since an intersection had to have at least seven cycling accidents to get on it. 

To get on the most dangerous intersections list overall in the city, an intersection had to have at least sixteen (16) accidents. Nor is there any indication of who was responsible for those seven accidents. Given the routinely reckless behavior by city cyclists, it's fair to say that they were responsible for more than half of those accidents, as page 24 in the report tells us.

The city used the safety lie to justify the bike lanes on Fell/Oak, on Masonic Avenue, and on redesigning the Fell/Masonic intersection.

The anti-car Streetsblog, provides a forum for cyclists angry that they didn't get all of Polk Street:

When Chiu was asked whether he thinks the plan would make Polk bike-friendly enough for a mother to feel safe riding with a child---a vision which he has promoted to pro-bike crowds, but hasn't supported when it's politically risky---he said yes. “The solutions that the MTA is proposing really moves to the next level on both of these sections for the biking experience, whether it be for young people all the way to seniors,” Chiu said. “I do think that this moves forward the biking vision for the city.”

Chiu is now the Benedict Arnold of the anti-car bike movement in the city. He opposes safety for mothers and their children, the bastard!

Leah Shahum, head lobbyist for the SF Bicycle Coalition, pounced on the phony safety issue:

“This proposal continues the unfortunate tradition of our city designing bikeways that encourage the strong and fearless, rather than being accessible to people of all ages, including families, who deserve to feel comfortable and welcome on our streets,” she said.

Shahum is on record in support of making our streets safe for six-year-olds on bikes---riding alone, not with their families.

That's not good enough. What about moms on bikes with their babies? From the comments to the Streetsblog story:

Wow, [board]Pres. Chiu. Supporting squeezing moms and babies between car doors and speeding traffic because a few people want parking. How quickly you chicken out just to keep an edge in next year's Assembly race. Endangering the lives of San Franciscans for your political ambitions? Sad, David Chiu.

I want to see Chiu try to explain to an actual mother how the green bicycle symbol painted on the otherwise unchanged street makes it suddenly safe and comfortable to ride with her child.

David Chiu is a motherfucker!

From the SF Examiner:

Agency officials unveiled the new proposal Wednesday to media outlets during a presentation attended by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who represents the Polk Street area. Chiu, who had passed a resolution in 2010 setting a citywide goal of making 20 percent of all trips by bicycle by 2020, up from the current 3 percent, said he was open to the initial options and is now supportive of the revised plan.

Now, let's be fair. The percentage of all the trips made every day by bike in the city is 3.4%, not 3% (see page 5 of the MTA's Mode Share Survey).

More comments from Streetsblog:

Chiu is absolutely wrong in asserting that this street will accommodate mothers with children. And with this precedent set, there is no chance in hell SF will get to even 10% bike mode share by 2020.

Although this plan's pedestrian improvements (including 'day-lighted' intersections) are fantastic, this plan fails the 8 to 80 crowd and it is a missed opportunity for a "complete" street. So much for the goal of 20% by 2020.

The bikeys should at least give Chiu credit for creating the stupid "20 percent by 2020" idea, which is twice as implausible as the previous "10 percent by 2010" slogan.

Another comment:

As for David Chiu, he is clearly a coward and a fraud. This betrayal will not be forgotten and he will have a very difficult time convincing anyone of his credibility going forward. He has zero integrity and the next injury or death that happens on Polk Street can be directly chalked up to his personal political ambition. Shame on Chiu.

Chiu is learning what Mayor Newsom learned about the city's bike people: No matter what you give them, it is never enough.

But why is Supervisor Chiu the only one in City Hall guilty of betraying the great bicycle revolution? What about Mayor Lee? When he ran for mayor in 2011, he told the Bicycle Coalition he supported the Polk Street bike lanes, as did the other supervisors. Supervisor Avalos even got the Bicycle Coalition's endorsement for mayor in 2011, but he too has been silent on the Polk Street bike lanes.

I hope the people of Polk Gulch reject this proposal, since it will still take away 100 parking spaces in a neighborhood where street parking is scarce.

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